Challengers and Statistics
Colorado: Colorado Pols has Scott "McLobbyist" McInnis "concerned" about the possible (probable?) entry into the Senate race of state AG John Suthers. McInnis has tried very hard to get all of the CO-GOP behind him and box out any possible primary challengers. But Suthers, Bob Schaffer, Mike Coffman, and Dan Caplis might have something to say about that. And I look forward to that conversation!
Kentucky: Ditch Mitch KY offers a look at possible challengers to McConnell: U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler as the top choice (though he may be more likely to run for Jim Bunning's much more vulnerable seat in 2010), most frequently mentioned potential candidate 2003 Dem Lt. Gov. nominee Charlie Owen, and a possible draft effort around State Rep. Rocky Adkins.
New Hampshire: James at SSP notes the shift in Presidential primary voting by independents from 60% GOP primary in 2000 to a polled 68% Dem primary for 2008 - and how ominous a sign that is for John Sununu. Since independents can vote in either primary in New Hampshire, which party's primary they vote in can be seen as an indicator of how their political preferences lean at the moment. (Of course it can also be seen as which party is having a more exciting race, which is why 2000 was used as the comparison; it was the last year for primaries in both parties.) And a 28-point swing from GOP to Dem certainly doesn't help an already-very-vulnerable GOP incumbent.
James at SSP also highlights an interesting statistic:
I went back through the last 10 elections (to 1988) and found support for the notion that there are more retirements in presidential years. In the 5 presidential election years there were 5 to 13 retirements, with an average of 7.7 retirements/election. In the 5 midterm election years there were 3 to 8 retirements, with an average of 4.8 retirements/election.With only Colorado's Wayne Allard having announced a retirement, if the statistics hold, we can expect at least another four retirements. Who might they be? If I had to pick four more retirees, I'd go with New Mexico's Pajamas Pete Domenici, Virginia's John Warner, Idaho's Larry Craig and a three-way tie for fourth between Nebraska's Chuck Hagel, Mississippi's Thad Cochran, and South Dakota's Tim Johnson (for obvious health reasons, if he feels unable to absorb the rigors of a re-election bid). But don't rule out Alaska's Ted Stevens, Tennessee's Lamar Alexander, Oklahoma's Jim Inhofe or even the reportedly running Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina as retirement possibilities.